Things You Should Know Before Opting for a Gap Year in College

Taking a gap year is quite common among college students. Some of them opt for it before getting enrolled in college. Others prefer to take the plunge in between the academic years. The gap year is usually meant for enriching one’s experience and used for active participation in internships, working holidays, volunteering for a cause, or international travel

Students often suffer from the dilemma of making this decision. The widespread pandemic has further resulted in a tremendous increase in the percentage of students taking gap years. If you, too, are planning to go for a gap year, scroll down to know the details.

The Never-Ending Dilemma

The majority of parents consider a gap year the end of the world. Some feel that gap years can lead to unnecessary financial burdens and wastage of money and time. At the same time, others believe that it can put their children off track. 

But the academic world itself does not seem to agree with parents. For instance, the highly esteemed Harvard College encourages students to take a gap year and come back rejuvenated. The Harvard authority provides all sorts of facilities and guidance to those students who are willing to go for a break. They even have a Harvard Gap Year Society for the same purpose. 

Also, as per the stats of the American Gap Association, about 90% of the students who take time off college perform better in their respective curriculums. Those students also learn to make better choices in their academics and life. For instance, they opt for an custom essay writings for routine assignments. As a result, they dedicate more time to upskilling. 

Why Do Students Take a Gap Year During/Before College?

Students who take a gap year before or during college often make a mindful decision after comparing all the pros and cons of it. A very few of them are forced to pursue a gap year due to unexpected occurrences. But unplanned breaks do not turn out to be as fruitful as they should be. Here’re the most common reasons why students opt for a gap year. 

To Learn Industry-Oriented Skills 

Education should not be limited to the four walls of a classroom. Students develop skills outside of the classrooms during their time off. These valuable skills are the key to bagging prestigious job opportunities in the future.

To Gain Experience

Some students use the gap year to push themselves out of their comfort zone. They utilize this time to explore new ideas, take up engaging projects, and follow their interests. It contributes heavily towards experiential learning. Taking a break helps significantly in widening your perspective. 

P.S. Try journaling your experiences so as to preserve these golden memories forever. 

To Strategically Avoid Burnouts

The incessant grinding of the school years can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. A gap year keeps those burnouts at bay. Traveling or following one’s passion can indeed be therapeutic and helps students bounce back with a zing.

To Finally Take Time Out for Their Passion

The pressure to do well in school and college often compels students to let go of their hobbies and interests. But a gap year during college enables the students to invest time in and nurture their passion. 

To Expand Professional and Academic Network 

While on a break, students travel to new places, participate in engaging activities, and come across people from different walks of life. Thus, students who take a gap year often return with an enriched professional network.

Consequences of Taking a Gap Year

Even though a gap year is a thoughtful decision, you should not think that there are no consequences. Your gap year is always visible and can cause a question mark everywhere you go. You should be confident about your decision and back it up instead of feeling ashamed when such a scenario happens. 

Here’re a few common consequences of a gap year. 

It Brings an Abrupt Break to Your Study Routine 

While in college, you get in the habit of following a routine every day. Taking time off means you are willingly breaking this system. A year-long break can very easily make you go undisciplined. If there is no proper routine to be followed, the break will simply waste your precious time.

It Can Lead to an Increased College Dropout Rate

Once you are away from the regular grinding of college life, you may get habitual of this sabbatical. The temptation to let go of the college years altogether is quite natural in that situation. Students thus can face difficulties in going back to the monotonous college life and may opt for dropouts.

Gap Years Tend to Be Expensive

Before taking a gap year, students need to consider their expenses as well. International traveling or learning your favorite skill can skyrocket your budget super soon. However, planning well beforehand and opting for work exchange programs or short-term employment can bring in the much-needed funds during the time off.

It Can Also Lead to Procrastination

A gap year is a means to revitalize oneself. It is an educational experience away from the conventional academic setup. But students often go lenient during their time off and spend the entire time procrastinating. 

Wrapping Up

Taking a gap year is completely one’s personal choice. While there are so many pros, students need to be a tad bit wary of the cons as well. If you are planning to take time off, then understand the gravity of the situation. Know that this one-year gap will be there permanently on your resume. So, it is totally up to you how you make the most out of this sabbatical. Be responsible, decide your strategy, and then make your call.